A total of 2,500 care workers in the Balearic Islands have filed a class action lawsuit against the local government for being excluded from a call for applications because they lack qualifications in Catalan. Those affected, who make up about half of those eligible for the job, are also calling for the process to be suspended as a precautionary measure while the courts rule on the merits of the case.
Many plaintiffs have already worked at the Servei de Salut de les Illes Balears. However, they were excluded from the competition which opened last July because they could not prove their knowledge of Catalan, according to newspaper Ultima Hora. Nursing assistants must prove that they have the A2 qualification.
The requirement of Catalan in the administration of the Balearic Islands is in force with the entry of the government of Francina Armengol. The former president, José Ramón Bauzá, of the PP but today in the ranks of the Cs, eliminated this obligation and made it a merit, instead of a requirement. This decision caused widespread controversy and the abandonment of the ranks of some prominent PP activists.
The tripartite formed by the PSOE, Més and Podemos amended the law to make it mandatory again. But they introduced an exception that gave medical professionals two years to accredit their knowledge of the language once they got the job. This exception was recently struck down by the courts.
In the case of “bolsines de celadores”, until now they were not required to accredit their knowledge of Catalan in order to qualify for the “bolsín”. However, in the July call for applications, this requirement was included, which has now led to the lawsuit. In the lawsuit they mention this circumstance, pointing out that the Servei de Salut acts against previous acts, which excludes some 2,500 people from the list.
They also denounce the fact that Catalan was not required in the calls for applications for the other categories. They point out, for example, that in the event of a call for applications from nurses, they are authorized to apply for posts on condition that they then attest to their possession of the diploma.
The plaintiffs claim that there has been a double standard which leaves them defenseless and for this reason they ask the court to cancel the call for candidates or to suspend it and allow them to be part of the lists.
They also point out that excluding all such staff from the tests could lead to problems in the provision of the service. And that would be detrimental to the common good, given the real possibility of the Servei de Salut being left without personnel to meet its needs.